Melanie offers marry Joe so that the courts will look favourably on him having custody of Sky.
JOE: Hang about, hang about! There's no guarantee that the courts would give custody even if I did get married again.
MELANIE: Of course they would, Joe! Once they see how much Sky loves me! (to Sky) We're not going to let that nasty old judge take you away from your daddy, are we.
JOE: Thanks, Mel. You're such a mate for even thinking about it, but I couldn't ask you to make a commitment like that.
MELANIE: You didn't ask. I offered. Joe, plenty of people get married without being in love.
JOE: Oh, that's true. I mean, it's being mates that makes it work.
MELANIE: So...what's the problem.
JOE: I can't get married again! I mean...Kerry...
MELANIE: She would be the first to say 'Go for it'.
JOE: You reckon?
MELANIE: Of course she would! She'd want you to have Sky. If getting married again was the only way...
JOE: Yeah...she would understand.
MELANIE: Then...that's settled, then.
JOE: No, Mel! Couldn't do it.
MELANIE: Are you even going to think about it?
Joe is silent, and it seems that he may be just desperate enough about the court case to consider it seriously.
MELANIE: Well, I'll get Sky into the bath, and you think about it. (pause) What'd be worse? Having me as a wife or losing a daughter?
Adam is invited out raging by one of his mates, Rory, but he says he's too tired and wants to stay in...with Caroline. Rory smiles knowingly and says maybe he should invite Christina out! Adam tells him he can do what he likes - but not tonight.
Adam introduces Rory to Harold. Rory asks for credit on his bill as he's a bit short(!) but Adam pays for him. Adam suggests that Rory gets a job like the rest of them.
Christina tells Melanie that she's decided to take the modelling assignment for the shoe store. They talk about Paul and Christina tells her that she's just got to get used to Paul thinking of her as a little sister.
MELANIE: At least now you can concentrate on finding the *real* Mr Right.
CHRISTINA: But - anyone else would seem like Mr Second-Best.
MELANIE: Oh, don't you believe it. All this stuff about love and romance is entirely over-rated if you ask me.
CHRISTINA: Says she, who kissed the frog she found at Lassiter's Lake just to see if the fairy-tale came true!
MELANIE: And what did I get? Three warts! Which proves my point when I get married, it's not going to be for love.
She looks a bit serious.
CHRISTINA: Well, what's it going to be for?
MELANIE: Friendship and respect and having kids.
CHRISTINA: That sounds almost as cold-blooded as the frog.
MELANIE: I think it's a very civilised arrangement.
CHRISTINA: All you have to do now is find a civilised guy.
MELANIE: Well, that shouldn't be too hard.
CHRISTINA: Mel, do yourself a favour - forget it. There's only one real reason for getting married and it's not friendship or respect.
Adam sees Helen in the street. He tells her he's having trouble finding a part-time job and asks her if he might have his own job back - reliability is his new middle name! Helen agrees to give him another chance - providing Caroline hasn't found anyone else (she's interviewing today)
Rory is having an interview with Caroline for the chauffeur's job (Adam mentioned it earlier). Caroline decides to give him the job - the other applicants weren't up to much. Rory is pleased and invites her to dinner, but she tells him she's spoken for, and anyway, he'll have to start work tonight!
CAROLINE: I think Adam's going to be really pleased that his old job went to a mate.
Christina is poring over a recipe book when Paul comes in. He has a go at her for leaving $400 in the gift shop till. She explains that Cathy was there, but Paul counters that the gift shop is Christina's responsibility. She can't see what the big deal is - noone actually pinched the money! Paul tells her she's lucky not to lose her job over it, so she tells him to fire him if he wants to - he's always looking for an excuse.
While she's talking, she slices open her finger on the chopping knife. Paul looks at it sympathetically and makes her run it under the sink while he gets a bandage. He apologises for ranting and Christina looks very pleased at the attention he's paying her!
Harold is visiting Joe, Melanie and the kids. Melanie goes off to play hide and seek with the kids.
HAROLD: Melanie's good with the kiddies, isn't she!
JOE: Oh yeah, yeah. You know, the more I think about it, the more I think she's right about me getting married again.
HAROLD: (pause) Married? To whom?
JOE: To her.
Harold is stunned.
HAROLD: Oh, don't be absurd.
JOE: The mind boggles, doesn't it. Me and Mel. But she's got a point, you know. I reckon I've got a much better chance of winning that custody battle if I can produce a bona fide wife.
HAROLD: More likely the court will see it for exactly what it is...a marriage of convenience, just so that you can keep Sky.
JOE: They're not to know.
HAROLD: Oh, but for heaven's sake, man, how can you even consider it?
JOE: Well, it was just an idea.
HAROLD: Yes, well, an extremely foolish one. But there again, Melanie is not known for her deliberations, is she?
JOE: Fair go, mate, she meant well.
HAROLD: Yes, well, the act of marriage is sacred. There can be no justification for a union without love.
Adam is setting the table for his dinner with Caroline. He goes to the door, but it's Rory, in a Home James uniform. Adam is shocked to hear that Rory has got the job - he hadn't had a chance to talk to Caroline yet. Rory offers to resign, but Adam says he got the job fair and square.
Rory says that he's looking forward to checking out nightclubs while his clients are dining but Adam warns him that he's supposed to stay with the limo. Rory says that rules are made for bending!
Paul is chopping onions and asking Christina if she really need 6 onions(!) She assures him it's in the recipe. They are getting on quite well though. He looks more closely at the recipe book and realises there's nothing in the recipe about onions - Christina was just getting him back for being tetchy with her earlier! He starts to splash her with water from the sink as she laughs hysterically!
Helen pops around to see Madge, but she's been called in to work. Helen tells him that she can babysit Sky tomorrow afternoon (Madge asked her). They talk about the kids and Harold thinks that they are coping very well. Helen thinks that Joe should get out more, maybe join a few clubs. Harold says that Joe needs time to get over Kerry.
HELEN: The right person is hard enough to come by first time around, to pull it off more than once is a miracle.
HAROLD: Oh, I don't know, lots of people have very successful second marriages. Madge and myself, for example.
HELEN: Oh, I know that, Harold. But you can't expect everyone to be so lucky.
Christina and Paul are hanging out in the living room. She shows him a magazine, but then realises that he has fallen asleep. After a while, she tentatively touches his hair. He seems to enjoy this in his sleepy state.
No.32, the following morning
Harold drops into the chaos that is Melanie getting the kids ready for the day. When Toby has gone to school, Harold tells Melanie that the kids really like her. She says she loves kids, and really missed Roger's when they broke up. She rushes off to work and then Joe comes in from the kitchen and sits down.
HAROLD(thoughtfully) Can't lose our little girl, can we?
Paul is getting ready for work but can't find a clean shirt. Caroline heads off and Melanie comes in. She's surprised to find Paul shirtless(!)
When Paul has dashed upstairs, Christina tells Melanie that she and Paul had a fantastic evening, but he seems to have forgotten about it this morning.
MELANIE: Still think being in love's worth the hassle?
CHRISTINA: What's the alternative?
MELANIE: I told you, friendship and respect. I bet you Joe and I wouldn't have half the fights you and Paul would have if you and Paul ever got married.
CHRISTINA: What are you talking about, Joe who?
MELANIE: Joe Mangel!
CHRISTINA: (pause) He asked you to marry him?!
MELANIE: Well, no, actually, I asked him.
CHRISTINA: Are you crazy? You don't love Joe!
MELANIE: No, but I like him a lot. And he'd be heartbroken if Eric Jensen got custody of Sky.
CHRISTINA: You're serious, aren't you?
MELANIE: Of course I am. Toby and Sky need a mother, and I'm the best person for the job.
CHRISTINA: Mel, motherhood is not a job! You can't hand in your resignation when you get sick of it!
MELANIE: I know the rules, Chrissie, till death do us part.
CHRISTINA: What if you fall in love with somebody else?
MELANIE: I won't.
CHRISTINA: Well, it happens all the time! Even to those people who got married for love in the first place!
MELANIE: Well, it won't happen to me.
CHRISTINA: That's what you said when you met Kelvin, and when you broke up, who did you meet? Roger.
MELANIE: Then I would have made a mistake.
CHRISTINA: Mmmm, a whopper. You'd be miserable for the rest of your life. And that would make Joe and the kids miserable too, don't do it Mel. Don't even think about it!
MELANIE: Well, I suppose I could tell Joe that I've changed my mind. He wasn't really seriously considering it, anyway.
CHRISTINA: Thank goodness for that!
Front of No.32
JOE: Of course, noone could take the place of Kerry.
HAROLD: I should hope not.
JOE: It's just that, thinking about the idea of me getting married again, let's get serious, here...
JOE: Melanie is hardly my type.
HAROLD: Well...she does have certain universal qualities.
JOE: Yeah? Well, I suppose she's not one of them moody sheilas, who's going to give a bloke a hard time...
HAROLD: No, and she's obviously well-endowed with maternal instincts.
JOE: Oh sure, yes, she loves the kids.
HAROLD: And let's face it, the custody hearing is what - seven months away? By then the whole idea might not seem so distasteful...
JOE: I'm sorry, am I hearing properly? Are you saying I should marry Melanie?
HAROLD: Well...it's a possibility that you shouldn't dismiss out of hand!
JOE: Yesterday you said it was a lousy idea!
HAROLD: I said I could not condone a marriage of convenience, and I still can't. But, if you could come to regard Melanie as just a little more than friendship...well then, who am I to stand in the way?
JOE: Melanie's a good mate, I don't know if I could see her any other way.
HAROLD: Would help if you could, Joe. Then there wouldn't be any dishonesty when it's your turn to stand up in court and say your piece.
JOE: Yeah, I should talk to her. See how she feels about...putting in a bit of spade-work.
Harold picks Sky out of the Ute.
HAROLD: I'm sorry Joe, I don't mean to pressure you. Under normal circumstances I'd be shocked at the idea of you re-marrying so soon. But I couldn't bear the thought of losing this little one, and it could make all the difference.
JOE: Yeah, I know. Tell you what Harold, I'll talk to Melanie and see what she thinks of the idea of becoming an autumn bride.
He gets into the ute.
SKY: Bye, daddy!